Volunteers In Art

Nevada Museum of Art
Donald W. Reynolds Center for the Visual Arts: E. L. Wiegand Gallery

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Mummy Recycling

The Preference for Pirates, Public Health & Paper Bags

Why did the Egyptians embalm and desiccate the dead? Perhaps it was a convenient blending of their religion and the nature of their environment which was dry and treeless. Cremation was not possible on a large scale for want of fuel. The annual flooding of the Nile discouraged burial, for the rising waters would wash up the bodies. Stacking corpses in dry caves invited jackals and pestilence. So mummification was as effective for public health as it was to satisfy the demands of the religion.

Throughout the centuries many have ravaged the country for mummies and antiquities, some for personal gain, treasure, curiosity, science and museum artifacts. Tomb robberies were common since the early years of mummification and are thought to continue today.

Through the 18th century, in Europe and the burgeoning western hemisphere, ingesting mummy powder finely ground from mummy remains was as popular for treating illness as is ingesting aspirin today. It was also considered an aphrodisiac.

In the 19th century, interest in the medicinal value of mummy powder waned, since it obviously had no salutary effect, but the mummies were still gathered and ground up for fertilizer.

In New England, just after the Revolution, rags for paper became scarce, so an enterprising paper manufacturer ordered mummies by the ship load, stripped the bodies of their wrappings and processed the linen into brown paper bags. When an outbreak of cholera occurred, the bags were blamed, but the importation of mummies for wrappings continued.

Then the Egyptian exporters, realizing the organic component was being wasted, began to ship only the linen wraps and processed the remains for fertilizer themselves.

With such wholesale destruction of mummy tombs, one might imagine that there aren't too many left. Don't be concerned. At the turn of the 20th century, the total number of persons mummified during the 4,700 years the rite was practiced was estimated at 731 million. The number still holds today as even more ancient Egyptian settlements are being discovered through satellite imagery.

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News & Updates

ART + ENVIRONMENT CONFERENCE Begins September 29th through October 1st. Be sure to register early or contact Rosalind for a volunteer’s view of this event.

Second Saturdays are Free. Thanks to the Nightingale Family Foundation, admission to the Museum is FREE every second Saturday throughout 2011.

First Thursday Enjoy a cool beverage 5 to 7 PM while listening to the Whitney Myer Band, August 4th and Max Yasgur’s Band, September 1st. Free valet parking for your bike, courtesy of Reno Bike Project. Admission $10/ Members FREE

Talk and Tasting: Tom Young, Jazz Aldrich, Ancient Egyptian Homebrew and Dr. Church’s Living Room Lager Enjoy an original brew and learn the process of recreating an authentic Egyptian beer in honor of Museum founder, James E. Church. Thursday, August 11th, 6 - 7 PM. $12/ $8 Members. Fee includes one beer, additional beer available for purchase.

Wander through the wilderness one last time. Don’t miss the imagery of Ansel Adams Distance and Detail. Exhibit ends August 14th.

Sunday Jazz Brunch 11 AM to 1 PM, welcomes Dickie Mills Group, Sunday, August 21st. On September 18th, enjoy the music of the Jackie Landrum Trio. Admission is FREE. A la carte brunch menu provided by Café Musée. Brunch menu $5-$15.

Join local bands, Very Pretty Pigeon and Memory Motel rooftop for an Indie Rock Night Thursday, August 18th. 6 - 7:30 PM. Admission is $3.

A Special Exhibition Art, Science and the Arc of Inquiry The Evolution of the Nevada Museum of Art, comprised of archival materials, including photographs, newspaper articles and artworks, from the Museum’s Collection and the University of Nevada, Reno Special Collections. August 27th-29th. FREE with admission fee.

Art Break Bring a friend and peek “behind the scenes” with fellow Museum volunteers Thursday, September 8th. Lecture begins at 5 PM followed by Museum tour.

The Altered Landscape: Photographs of a Changing Environment opens Saturday, September 24th commemorating the Museum’s 80th anniversary of the institution’s signature photography collection examining human interaction and intervention with the environment.

Museum Hours

Wednesday – Sunday 10 AM to 5 PM
Thursdays 10 AM to 8 PM
Closed Monday, Tuesday and National Holidays

Wednesday – Sunday 11 AM to 2 PM
1st Thursday 5 to 7 PM

Wednesday – Sunday 11 AM – 4:30 PM
Closed Monday & Tuesday

Tuesday – Friday 9AM - 5PM

Volunteers Needed

Are you interested in serving on the volunteer board? Have you always wanted to explore being a docent? We are currently looking for help in these areas as well as the Annual Arts and Flowers Luncheon, support for planning volunteer recognition events and administration work. For more information, please contact Rosalind Bedell at rosalind.bedell@nevadaart.org.

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